Oliveria beats personal record, wins 3A lift title

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 4/27/22

PORT ST JOE - After Knights’ followers saw defending girls champion Tamira Briley rumble to her second straight state title, it was relative unknown Gabriel Oliveria, a senior with no previous …

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Oliveria beats personal record, wins 3A lift title


PORT ST JOE - After Knights’ followers saw defending girls champion Tamira Briley rumble to her second straight state title, it was relative unknown Gabriel Oliveria, a senior with no previous weightlifting competition experience, that created enough stir to match the excitement and anticipation of Briley’s accomplishment.

For Oliveria, the task at hand was his total focus with a little spiritual help.

“Oh my God, it was amazing, “ said Oliveria. “I hurt my elbow last week and I just asked God if he could help me one more time. And he just did it.”

Oliveria, on paper, was a shoe-in for at least a medal with impressive bench presses and improving clean and jerk totals throughout the season. The variable for his shot at the title was defending 169 champion Addie Moore of Niceville, now with Oliveria in 183.

Oliveria, a bench press specialist, was to create a gap with the bench press which he did with a 385 to 325 edge after the first phase, but his clean and jerk (previous best of 240) was considerably less than Moore’s and that was where the medals would be decided.

“I’ve only clean and jerked for eight months,” said Oliveria. “On my first won, I was five pounds off my max at 245, but missed my second one.”

With the miss, Oliveria sensed some anxiety about winning the title with Moore a much more established state meet veteran and also defending champion.

“He’s been there and he’s done it,” said Oliveria. “I respected that and worried a bit that I did not do enough.”

Moore, though, opened and missed at his first crack at 305 to counter Oliveria’s bench press.

“I couldn’t believe he missed that, then he tried again and got 305 to go to 630,” said Oliveria, who was also at 630. “But then I hit 260 to PR my PR that I just set on my first lift to go to 645. I could not believe it with my elbow and all, but God was with me.”

Next, Moore had one shot to win the title outright, but his clean and jerk attempt was 320.

“He went crazy and tried to go 15 pounds more at 320,” said Oliveria. “He cleaned and jerked it so beautifully and I thought he got it and I said to myself that that was impressive, but he started to lose his balance and he lost it. He scratched.”

While watching, Oliveria stayed confident of his totals and let Moore dictate his finish.

“I just know I did my best and whatever the outcome, I had did my best,” said Oliveria. “I did a best off my best so if I finished second, I would still be proud.”

Oliveria, with class, appreciated Moore’s effort.

“I wish I could clean what he did,” said Oliveria. “That guy was also amazing competing like that.”

Also in 3A, Oakleaf got Ernest Kreschtmar at 11th in 119, Jalen Jones at 14th at 119 (fourth in Olympic Snatch); Prince Savea at 238 who did not clear his clean and jerk attempts and

Wyatt Nordean 13th at Unlimited. Champ Spangler was fifth in Olympic Snatch at 183. Kyland Armstrong was fifth in Olympic Snatch,

Defending 3A champion Fleming Island had just four lifters get to state with Austin Allred 11th at 129, Justin Nolley furth at 139, Jared Rhodes 15th at 199 (14th in Olympic Snatch),

Gage Isbell seventh at 219,

In Class 2A, Orange Park’s Cameron Griffieth and Clay’s Logan Meszaros were top finishers with Griffieth 10th at 129 and Meszaros eighth at 183. Meszaros also finished 11th in Olympic Snatch.

Middleburg’s Gabe Harp was 12th at 169 after a second in Olympic Snatch with teammate Khoda Moses 11th at 238. Ridgeview’s Andrew Rexach was 17th in 129 and eighth in Olympic Snatch while Chris Baptiste failed to get any lifts in at 139 but finished fifth in Olympic Snatch. Orange Park also had football star Roderick Kearney finish 13th in Unlimited.


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